So how do you effectively prioritize into a day the treatment follow-up, recall and marketing?
Early each day confirmation should be accomplished so it is clearly understood how much time needs to be filled to achieve goal. A certain number of hours and/or a certain number of calls can reflect the priority of recare or treatment follow-up. Remember, an office is never finished with handling recall. No one should ever hear, “We’ve called everyone. There is no one else to call.” Recall is something that is never completed. There should always be someone who can be called. Calling too much is not the problem when patients report feeling harassed, it is generally because leaving messages is the problem. So if you have team members who report they are being told, or are feeling like they are harassing patients, advise them to not leave a message.
Calling patients for follow-up treatment or recall means calling every number available unless a patient has asked us to do otherwise. Do not assume because a patient has not been seen for a year or two they are no longer interested in coming to your office. More often than not, patients think they’ve just seen you and are surprised to learn it’s been so long.
Marketing for new patients is another task that too often is considered a project. I have yet to meet anyone from any practice anywhere in the country where they tell me, “We have too many new patients. We don’t want anymore. We can’t see them all.“ That means marketing should be a priority in everyone’s day. Again, every member of the team must do something for marketing before they leave for the day.
There are two types of marketing, internal and external. Internal marketing is marketing to existing patients. This is easy. All those patients coming in to see you can be asked to send in their friends and family. “I smile every time I see your name on my schedule. I wish all of my patients were as wonderful as you. If you have any friends or family who are looking for a dentist, please send them our way. We find that wonderful people tend to have wonderful friends too.”
With social media a source of information and, more importantly, referrals, it can also be beneficial to ask for reviews from those best patients. If you are really interested in increasing your number of new patients, there is no better way than increasing your exposure on-line through the use of great testimonials. Make it easy for your patients to review you. Set your practice up to where patients receive automatic requests for reviews and comments or direct them to the reviewing sites you use: google, yelp, etc. Even though you may have an automated system you still should remind and ask patients to comment on your office.
Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Twitter. When considering what to say or do on social networking sites; for Facebook think pictures, for LinkedIn think articles, for Twitter think links and for YouTube think short testimonials and informational pieces. How often should these sites be accessed? Facebook twice a day, LinkedIn twice a week, Twitter more frequently and YouTube whenever you have an interesting video to share.
Remember to also work on your external marketing daily. Whether you are a general dentist or a specialist, it is in your best interest to connect with the offices you refer to and who can refer to you. Build relationships with the other teams. The doctor can do this by choosing one mutual patient a week to discuss with another office via telephone. The front office can do this by providing information on a patient recently seen, or a patient the office has not been able to get back into the office. Referral slips can be mailed. Calls can be made to determine if a general dentist is seeking a relationship with a specialist, specialists can be contacted to provide them with business cards. Visiting business, day cares, schools, medical offices and other places where information can be provided can assist you in getting your name out to those who are seeking your care.
Staying focused and being consistent in creating priorities that reflect the outcome you desire will allow you to achieve the experience you most want. Go Big!
Great teams take effort. Take time to work on your practice regularly to build quality communication and strengthen your results. For more information and to read other articles, please visit us at www.saltdpm.com.